Workshop “Io vivo qui” (I Live Here), as part of the Youth Council Benčić, was the first workshop which we did with children in another country and without the help of our users. This workshop was realized through cooperation with the project Free Home University and the Association of Fermenti Lattici in Lecce, Italy on this occasion Althea Thauberger joined the organizational team.
Association Fermenti Lattici has been working with children for 8 years in the city of Lecce and the surrounding area teaching them about culture, art and history in an interactive way and in a form of non-formal education. This is the first year that the association connected with the project Home Free University (FHU) which is funded by the Canadian Art Foundation Musagetes. We were the participants in FHU and we got the opportunity to design and implement a workshop with their users. FHU project activities are almost entirely conducted in Ammirato Culture House / culture center in Lecce.
The workshop lasted for 2 hours and the goal was to familiarize and connect the kids with the house in which the events take place. Based on the work on the film Althea Thauberger’s Take Back Bencic, we developed a workshop through which children develop an emotional connection with the space so they can return there and feel comfortable to spend time there even outside of organized workshops.
The workshop consisted of several activities. The first was the introduction and icebreaker games in order to learn each other’s names, get to know one another and relax. Then we went in a treasure hunt throughout Ammirato Culture House and its garden. The aim of the search was not only to find the final “treasure” but also get to know the parts of the house, its residents and specially to find places or objects that are adapted to children, such as children’s department at the library. At the end of the search the two groups have found two letters in which were described the history of the house and Scipio Ammirato, a Renaissance humanist who made the house and lead a school called “I Trasformati”.
The last activity was an imagination exercise. The children climbed up a ladder to the bust of Scipio Ammirato and they had to imagine what it would be like if he wakes up all of a sudden – what would he want to know, what would he ask people around him. The questions that children “heard”, they wrote down on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. We had put all envelopes in a mailbox and the current users and tenants of the Ammirato Culture House – project participants Home Free University – replied to them.
When they responded to the letter, all letters were addressed to the child who wrote it down and letters waited for them in the mailbox next time they came to Ammirato Culture House.
We want to thank the association Fermenti Lattici and the FHU project participants who helped us in the realization of this workshop.